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River Report - May 23, 2019

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report

Fishing is always good, but now the catching is starting to slowly improve.   It’s been a cold Spring and we’ve been struggling with water temperatures.  That situation looks to be getting better all the time.  Nighttime low temperatures along with daytime high temperatures, are helping our streams warm.  We’ve been a few degrees away from greatness and, and as a result, the insect hatches have dribbled and the trout rise has been lethargic.

The forecast weather trend should take care of both those problems. A trout’s metabolism kicks in with water warmed to right around 55 degrees.  Our bugs need at least that this week.  I’ve still yet to have a mosquito buzz in my ear even though days on the water have me sunburned.  When we start swatting those little, water-born, bloodsuckers the fishing will be good.  You gotta love the weather in Northern Michigan.  Crazy place to be an angler—here I am hoping for mosquitos.

Figuring out the fishing here is an intricate cardboard puzzle comprised of oddly shaped water temperatures, flows, and insects and mostly it seems like your dog may have eaten at least one of those pieces. The missing half of Mona Lisa’s smile could be anything from a toothy grin to a tongue hanging out.

But it’s coming together daily.   We have the tail end of the dark hendricksons, light hendricksons, along with little mahoganies and stones and caddis all making appearances.  On top of that, suplhurs are overdue and should take the stage soon.  We’re behind schedule.

I’ve been in the boat with clients quite a bit this year and one skill that most desperately lack is the reach cast. Practice that one.  It’s not hard—just a timing deal.  I’m sure it’s all over YouTube.  Better yet, stop by the shop and one of the boys will show you how if time allows.

I do it as automatically as I put the line under my finger and against the cork whenever the fly is on the water. Instead of simply letting the line lay out flat on your front cast, just reach as far as you can upstream.  Your line will land nicely in the currents above the bait and you’ll have accomplished your first aerial mend.  It eliminates the first mend after your cast, which we all know move the fly out of the feeding line you’re casting toward. Trust me, your hook-up rate will improve exponentially.

Then practice feeding slack line through your rod guides without moving the fly. There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to get a twenty foot drift.  And thirty is better.  A downstream mend after all of that will get you to your backing.  These are fundamentals to an experienced angler.

Thanks for the read and I may just see you on the River,